About the Author

Katie Mitzel

Books by this Author
Rocky Mountain Cooking

Rocky Mountain Cooking

Recipes to Bring Canada's Backcountry Home
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From the Introduction

During more than twenty years in the industry, I have worked in some incredible backcountry lodges. Every lodge has its own special appeal, but they all offer their guests the prospect of adventure, total immersion in natural beauty, and the option of “unplugging” from daily life. Over the years, I’ve seen time and time again how a first experience of backcountry lodge living usually marks the beginning of a love affair.

What do I mean by “love affair”? I’m talking about the elation you feel, followed by the most wonderful calm, when you’re sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. On the way up, you can feel your legs shaking, your lungs burning, and your focus blurring from the strength of the wind. Yet, you keep going, undeterred by elevation or the thought of being able to turnback. Once on top, sitting beside a giant cairn made by everyone who has climbed this peak and added a stone, you feel so proud of yourself and totally aware of your surroundings. The endorphins that are activated after a mountain hike—after any exercise—are all-encompassing and addictive. They make you feel the same as you do after an amazing first date. Many backcountry guests come to the mountains just to experience that feeling of absolute bliss.

My goal with this book is to teach you how to enjoy that feeling of bliss in your own kitchen. No matter where you live, or whether you’ve visited the backcountry, there are remarkable influences from this environment that you can incorporate into your daily cooking. Think of the mountains, the glacial lakes, the carpets of wildflowers, the boulders covered in emerald green lichen—these are the palettes that often inspire me in the kitchen. I’m drawn to the endless varieties of color and texture I’ve encountered during my many hours outdoors, and the memories of them keep me stimulated for hours after I have hung up my hiking boots and placed a gorgeously marinated wild salmon in the oven.

This cookbook contains a collection of diverse and eclectic dishes that I have prepared in many backcountry lodges and huts over the years. You don’t have to be a skier or hiker to enjoy them. The majority of ingredients won’t require you to seek out a specialty grocery store—you will likely find you have most of them at home or that you already shop for them regularly and have been looking for a different way to prepare them.

Use the recipes to inject a little novelty into your daily life. Start your day with a hearty and warming baked French toast casserole with streusel (page 21) or maybe the skillet-baked huevos rancheros (page 31) instead of boiled egg and toast. Enjoy a fabulous salad paired with crispy fried chicken with buttermilk dipping sauce (page 164) for a late lunch. Indulge a craving for the richness of a halibut steak, cooked to perfection and placed atop a bed of roasted asparagus, with pan-fried scallops and a velvety beurre blanc (page 146), to help you forget your troubles at the end of the day.

I’ve also included my best bread recipes, as well as a selection of recipes for delicious cakes, an array of baked goodies, and warming soups to keep on hand. I’m sure that, as you leaf through the pages, you will find something—many things—to prepare that will bring your friends and family to the table to share a meal, talk about your day, or maybe plan your next trip to the great outdoors.

The backcountry can seem hostile or vibrant, overwhelming or inspirational, but however you imagine or experience it, its constant reminders to stay present is its best legacy. If you can nurture that sense of being in the moment in your home and kitchen, I suspect that the peace we can gain from all the natural gifts that the backcountry offers will follow close behind.

So what are you waiting for?

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The Skoki Cookbook

Trailblazing Through History and Culinary Delights
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